Seattle Prosecutor Dropping Seven Months Worth Of Tickets For Using Marijuana In Public

Remember that cop in Seattle accused of going rogue in light of Washington’s legalization of recreational marijuana? Officials in that city say he issued about 80% of all the tickets for using pot in public, and had urged ticketed residents to contest any and all marijuana tickets as a result. Now Seattle’s prosecutor is just wiping seven months of marijuana tickets from the board entirely.

It isn’t just the tickets from that particular police officer — who was reassigned and is now under investigation by the police department’s Office of Professional Accountability — but all 100 tickets issued between Jan. 1 and July 31, reports the Associated Press.

City Attorney Pete Holmes is moving to dismiss those and seek a refund for the 22 people who already forked over the $27 fine for the ticket.

While Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole had asked for the tickets from that one officer, who deemed the pot law “silly,” Holmes says issuing a blanket pardon is easier procedurally and make for cleaner data as Seattle keeps a handle on enforcement.

Besides, it’s not about the money, Holmes says, but educating people about what you can and cannot do (like smoking in public) under the new law.

The Seattle PD also announced this week that it’s advising cops to warn people out loud before issuing a ticket if they can, and not to take the pot when they do. And if you’re smoking on private property, you shouldn’t get a ticket, even if someone else can see you doing so.

“The goal all along has been not to issue tickets as much as to change behavior,” Holmes said.

Prosecutor to Drop All Seattle Marijuana Tickets [The Associated Press]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.